What to do when your best employee puts in their notice

There can be trouble in providing a counter offer to an employee who resigns

Your best employee walks in your office to let you know they're resigning. Often your immediate reaction is to simply counter offer the employee more money in hopes they will stay with your company. Given the time, cost and hassle in finding and training a new employee it would be so much easier just convince this one to stay.

Every situation can be different, but it is rare that it works out for either party to accept a counter.

Unfortunately, once they put in a resignation, the cards are on the table. You know the employee was out looking for a new opportunity; they thought there might be a better fit for them somewhere else. Adding more money into their check doesn't necessarily change those facts.

Related: The tough business of changing your employee compensation package

Trust is often lost in the process and once that happens it is very difficult for the relationship to move on in a healthy way. The employee might be constantly comparing their work in your operation to the opportunity they could have had and passed up. The owners are constantly wondering if the employee is still looking. Are they really performing their best just because you gave them more money?

There is also an alarming statistic on why you should stay clear of a counter offer; 69% of employees who accept a counter leave their current employer within six months of accepting. Whether it is now or in the nearby future the position will need to be refilled anyway.

One way to be ahead of the game is to do stay interviews with employees. This is a tactic many larger companies do to meet with employees individually to see what they like and do not like about their current position, find out in what areas they would like to grow, ask where the company can better support them, etc. The idea is to stay on offense and not defense so that you are not in a position to have to make a knee-jerk reaction to a resignation notice.

If your top guy does leave, get working on your position quickly with aghires.com, the official site to post jobs in agriculture.

The opinions of Lori Culler are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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